Disclaimer: I don't own the people in this story. I just play with them.
A/N: I was going through my fic files and figured I'd finish this, since it was so close to being finished anyway. Also, first fic of the new year. Hopefully not my last.
Justin’s studio in New York was tiny, about half the size of his apartment in the Pitts and twice as expensive. The building was old and the plumbing sucked, making it impossible to take a shower for longer than five minutes before the water turned ice cold and the pressure went to shit. His landlord was a little old lady who always groped his ass when she saw him. His neighbors were a drag queen who owned some dive of a club in the Village and a man he’d dubbed ‘The Masturbator’, who came home after nine or ten hours at work and did nothing but jerk off. Loudly. To lesbian porn.
The only good thing about the place was that the neighborhood was fairly decent (he’d only been robbed once) and it was only four blocks from the gallery where he worked.
Brian’s place in New York, on the other hand, was perfect, a lot like the loft, only twice as big and with more rooms. The place was even rent controlled, the building owned by a former trick who remained, years later, eternally grateful to have had the privilege of Brian’s cock up his ass.
It was more their place than Brian’s place, as they’d taken an entire week to shop and furnish and decorate it to make sure they were both happy with the result. And Justin loved it. Brian thought he was an idiot for staying in a shit hole and paying out the ass every month for the privilege when he could just live in their place, but he refused to live in their place without Brian. Instead, he slept there three days a week, because Brian’s place was closer to school, and he roughed it at his own place the rest of the time.
Brian was visiting, so they’d been shacking up again. Justin had to get up two hours earlier to get to work in the morning, but the pros (better Chinese take out, regular sex, and easy access to Brian) far outweighed the cons (the aforementioned early mornings and traveling all over the city when he could be accessing Brian). Brian had been in town one week longer than he usually stayed and had made no mention of going back home. The longer he stayed, the more anxious Justin became, trying not to hope Brian was staying just in case he came home and announced it was time he went back to the Pitts. It was driving him a little crazy, the waiting, and it was making his thoughts a little crazy, too.
“I’m thinking about moving back to Pittsburgh,” Justin said into the phone, his feet propped up on the coffee table. He had a sketch book in his lap and a pencil in his hands, drawing the view outside the windows as he talked.
He hadn’t really been thinking about moving back to the Pitts. After more than a year, New York was officially home for him now and he couldn’t really see himself living anywhere else, except maybe Italy or possibly France. But a year was a very long time to half-live with the person you loved and he was getting pretty tired of two weeks with Brian and ten weeks without him.
“That’s crazy,” Daphne said on the other end of the line. “New York’s your home, there’s no way you’d move.”
Daphne didn’t sound the least bit concerned and sometimes Justin wished his best friend was a bit more prone to dramatics. “True,” he admitted reluctantly, “but Brian’s been here for three weeks and he hasn’t mentioned Pittsburgh once.”
“If that’s making you think move, I’d suggest moving out of that shit hole you live in,” Daphne said and then she hung up.
Justin tossed the phone on the couch, added one more cloud to his picture, and sighed. Daphne was right. And Brian was right. His apartment was crap and he should just move into Brian’s place (their place) because it was perfect and he loved it, not to mention he was starting to feel a little guilty of the look in Brian’s eyes whenever he said the words “my place”.
He had five friends in New York, the only five people in the entire city that he could stand to spend any significant amount of time with, people he’d clicked with the very moment he met them. Justin picked up the phone and dialed.
Moving was hard enough when you had a U-Haul and the help of your friends. Moving in a city where driving was practically a sin and your only means of transportation was a crowded subway train was absolute hell. After lugging one box of his stuff from his apartment to Brian’s, he started to think moving back to the Pitts would be easier than moving from one part of New York City to another.
But that wasn’t even an option, not really, because his life was in New York. He had friends in New York. He had a job and a home and an agent, a life in New York. He woke up every morning knowing that he was exactly where he was meant to be, doing exactly what he was meant to be doing.
So, he was just going to have to suck it up and lug his shit across the fucking city, one fucking box at a time if need be. Because there was no way in hell he was moving back to Pittsburgh. And if he did, Brian would probably have him killed.
It takes him forever, but he finally gets the most important of his things into their place. Brian was out attending meetings and on conference calls with Cynthia and Ted back in Pittsburgh, allowing Justin to move in without having to listen to Brian bitch. He hangs his clothes up in the closet, puts his socks and underwear into the drawers. He has a five minute debate about which toothbrush he should put in the bathroom and then decides to just keep the one Brian bought him because it cost a mint. It doesn’t take him long to settle in, but when he does it feels as if a weight’s been lifted from his shoulders.
When Brian comes home and makes his way to the bedroom, he doesn’t say anything when he notices the clothes hanging up next to his in the closet, doesn’t make a sound when he sees that the drawers that were empty this morning have been filled. But when he comes back downstairs and stretches out on top of Justin on the couch, he kisses him like he’ll never ever get enough.
Brian goes back to Pittsburgh the next week and Justin lives as best he can without him. But when Brian comes back eight weeks later instead of ten and stays four weeks instead of two, Justin knows that moving in, really moving in, was the right thing to do.
They may not live together permanently, may not have more than a few weeks together followed by a few more weeks apart. It’s not perfect, nothing ever is. Eventually, Brian will spend more time in New York than he does in Pittsburgh, and in a few years, when the time is right, they won’t have to live apart anymore at all.
Until then, when they’re together, they’ll really be together. And for now, that’s good enough for him.