The Difference


Feedback is adored. But please be nice to me. *wibbles* <3

Summary: Ethan sucks.
Notes: Just a little drabble written expressly for ragingpixie on her birthday. Tinkface, this is plotless and short but there is humping, so I hope you will enjoy. Happy birthday and I love you. Three!
Thanks to the faces for read-throughs and Erinface for the title. <3


Sometimes when Brian is just drunk or high enough, and they are sitting on the bed or the floor in the middle of the night, together in the quiet darkness, Brian will turn to Justin and cup a hand on the back of his neck. “Justin,” he murmurs with his eyes closed, in a tone that is low and loving and even vulnerable. Whenever Brian says his name like that, Justin’s heart skips and he stops breathing as he waits for what Brian is going to say next. Even after three years and counting, it never fails.


A few weeks after the Rage party, Justin came home from a double-shift at the diner to Ethan already asleep. Ethan liked to do that, go to bed pretty early, whereas Justin had been a night owl since the age of seventeen. Living with Brian made him that way.

He picked his way through the apartment in the dark, stripping as he went, and climbed into bed as quietly as he could. Ethan’s body was still and pale and everything suddenly seemed so odd. These sheets, that body, the peeling walls, everything was so foreign. That thought was disquieting, so Justin tried to make it disappear by moving close to Ethan. Spooning. Forking, Brian had once called it, while he was high. The memory of that night flitted into Justin’s mind and he smiled.

Ethan, drowsy, turned his head and looked at him. “Hey. What’s so funny?”

Justin had never felt ashamed of a smile before. It was an accident, he wanted to plea, but of course Ethan did not know the reason behind the smile. “Nothing,” he said. “Sorry to wake you.”

Ethan turned to face away from him. Justin moved against him again, and it still seemed so odd, still surprising, that this was the body he was lying against in the middle of the night, but of course he had made his fucking choice. This is what you wanted, he told himself, so prove it.

He was starting to get hard and he rubbed his cock against the small of Ethan’s back, lazy grinding to remind himself that this was real, this was pleasure.

“Justin,” Ethan said suddenly. Annoyed. Dissmissive. He reached back and patted Justin’s shoulder. “Tomorrow, okay?”

Justin pulled away and stared at Ethan’s back. “Okay,” he said, and he slept facing away from his boyfriend.


He never called out Ethan’s name during sex. He’s usually fairly vocal – if not actual words, then the little moans and gasps that Brian used to love to listen to, offset by Brian’s own typical silence, save for some heavy breathing and a few grunts near the end. But Brian’s name – he says it constantly. During sex, as a plea, questioningly, warningly, sometimes whining; it is a benediction, praise, and, surprisingly, often spoken out of joy.

He remembers the sheer pleasure of writing Brian’s name over and over in his notebooks as a kid, and how perfect their names looked placed side-by-side on the page.

But never Ethan’s name. At the time he told himself it made the sex more reverent. And besides, he was nineteen, and nineteen-year-olds do not doodle all over their notebooks.

Brian had called him “Taylor” back when Justin was an intern, something that still amuses them both, and sometimes Brian says it even now when he wants a blowjob in the backroom. Most of the time he doesn’t call Justin anything special at all, except Sunshine, and that’s only if he’s in an especially good or amorous mood.

Justin has always been vaguely grateful that Ethan never called him Sunshine.


Most of the time when he was with Ethan, he spent so much time actively not thinking about Brian that he was, of course, thinking about him by default. He can remember only one incident during the Ethan Phase where he wanted to be seventeen again, where he truly and honestly let himself think, I need Brian right now.

Ethan knew about the bashing, of course, because one day only a few weeks after they had met Justin had been drawing him and his hand started to shake, and Ethan asked why and Justin said, “Well, last year I got hit in the head at my prom.”

And Ethan had blinked in shock and nodded at all appropriate places as Justin told the story, and he said how sorry he was and how awful it was for someone to threaten Justin’s gift like that. But he hadn’t really gotten it, not like Brian; he didn’t know what the lonely hospital room had been like, or the hours of grueling physical therapy; the tears, the frustration, having those fucking awful nightmares. Justin had sort of tried to explain all this to Ethan, and Ethan had said, “But you’re okay now, right?”

And Justin had nodded and said yes, for a lack of a better answer. Because wasn’t he okay? He could draw and walk down the street without assistance and he only had nightmares on especially bad nights, so really, he was just fine.

Then Brian had turned thirty-one and a few days after that, Justin woke up and realized what day it was. He hadn’t even really remembered at first, but there had been – of all things – a small piece about it in the local news section, and an update on whatever happened to Chris Hobbs.

“You’re in the paper!” Ethan had said over breakfast, laughing a little and showing him the picture, one of Justin smiling in his tux.

“Oh, God,” Justin had groaned and pretended to be embarrassed, and then he kissed Ethan and went for his shift at the diner. And he really, really actively did not think about what Brian would do on this day, if they were together.

Of course, because karma hated him, Brian was sitting alone in a booth calmly sipping coffee with the newspaper open in front of him. Their eyes met, briefly, and Justin’s mouth went dry as Brian turned back to his paper.

“Hey,” Justin said to him, as he brought over his whole wheat toast.

“Hey,” Brian replied, as he always did.

Justin put his plate down and started to walk away. Then, “Justin,” Brian called after him.

Justin turned and he knew just from the tone of his voice, the eyes that glimmered with a solemn desperation, that Brian had remembered.

They were silent for a long moment, and then Brian asked, “Can I get some coffee?”

Somehow Justin ended up hanging around Brian’s table, under the pretense of clearing away dishes and mopping up, and Brian drank four coups of coffee and they still didn’t say a word to each other. Just as Brian was leaving, he stopped Justin with a hand on his wrist. Justin swallowed and looked up at him.

“How’s it going?” Brian asked, quietly, and without the usual bite of sarcasm so often present in his voice these days.

Justin clenched his right fist. “Fine,” he said, and Brian nodded.

“Good,” he said. Then his face slipped into a mask of general, blank disinterest. He picked up his briefcase. “See you.”

After he left Justin stared at the fifty-dollar tip Brian had tucked under his coffee cup for a long time, and he never mentioned it to Ethan.


It’s funny, but after Ethan was over with, Justin came home to the loft and an eerily familiar situation: long day, sore feet, and someone waiting for him in the bed. Only this someone pulled back the covers, kissed him with a tongue that tasted like whiskey and tangled his hands in Justin’s hair.

“Hey,” Justin said, happily surprised by the affection.

Brian was a little high; a joint rested in the ash tray beside the bed. He kissed Justin deeply, over and over, and Justin sort of clung onto him and went with it.

They kissed for so long it almost seemed like Brian forgot about the sex part. Brian eventually rolled to his side, eyes hazy, as he reached for the joint. Justin stretched out behind him, resting his cheek on Brian’s shoulder blade.

“So how was your day, dear,” Brian said finally, and Justin laughed softly, still a little taken aback by this pleasantly buzzed Brian.

“Getting better,” he said.

Brian grunted and put out the joint, but Justin could see him smiling. Justin kissed his shoulder.

“You?” he asked Brian, and Brian arched his neck when Justin’s hand wrapped around his cock. Justin smiled, too.

“Not really,” Brian managed to get out. “There was this trick at the baths…”

Justin laughed and stroked Brian’s cock harder, but maddeningly slowly, and spent his sweet time kissing Brian’s ear until Brian was actually, deliciously, desperate; straining into Justin’s hand and grunting with each stroke. Seeing Brian like that was Justin’s own drug. This man in this bed, wanting him like that. He had missed his, he realized, and the thought of missing this was like a sharp punch in the gut. So he wrapped his arms around Brian and hooked one leg over his, and he rubbed his cock against Brian’s hip slow and lazy and firm until they were both groaning and then Justin was crying out against Brian’s shoulder.

“Brian,” he said finally, squeezing his eyes shut against the rush. “Brian.”

Of course he knew what Justin wanted, just from his name. He turned over and Justin went on his back; they fucked face-to-face slowly with limbs that shook from the restrained tension, breathing through open mouths as they watched each other. At the end Brian pressed his forehead to Justin’s and moaned freely, and as Justin came with him, he promised himself he would never miss out on this again.


Yeah, he’s always liked Brian’s name, but he still doesn’t recall ever saying Ethan’s while in bed. In fact, he’s not sure he said much at all while with Ethan. At the time, he knew why, he just didn’t want to admit it to himself. He admits it now, every day, in every kiss and hug and fuck with Brian, every thrust of Brian’s cock and every smile and every hand tangled in his hair. And he knows that no matter who he has been with, or who he will be with, in every alley and back room and cramped artist’s apartment, it will always be Brian’s name.