Domestic Tranquility


Summary: Brian, Justin, Michael, Ben, and Hunter spend an afternoon together at the loft.
Author’s Notes: msjudi is once again awesome and thorough and very nice for reading and fixing things for me. ETA: Let's call it late season 4 AU, in that I'm going to pretend Hunter didn't go straight. Thanks for catching that, windtossed.
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He’s your boyfriend?” Hunter asked indignantly from just inside the loft. Michael and Ben followed him, carrying grocery bags.

“More or less,” said Justin from where he stood with Brian in the kitchen. Brian slid a hand up to cup his neck and Justin moved into it a little. Then Brian leaned down to kiss his temple, sort of enjoying how natural it was becoming.

So sorry to ruin your dreams of my cock,” said Brian.

“Whatever,” said Hunter. “Let me know when you get tired of him.” Neither Brian or Justin responded because by then Brian had backed Justin up against the countertop and was giving him a leisurely morning kiss, both hands cupping his face, while Justin lightly rested his hands on Brian’s hips.

With a brief warning glare at Hunter, Michael moved further into the room, rolled his eyes at the two of them and set two shopping bags on the counter. Brian released Justin and walked over to examine the contents of the bags.

“So, Mikey, not that I’m not happy to see you, but what the fuck are you and the happy family doing here?” He pulled out a block of cheese and grimaced. “With more food than we can possibly eat in a month? We are capable of feeding ourselves, you know.” He glanced in Justin’s direction, but Justin had wandered off to the bedroom to put on more clothes.

“Yeah, well I figured that you two could use something other than high protein. Ben and I are making you and Justin lunch.” So saying, Michael started to unpack.

“What if we have plans?”

“You don’t. I called Cynthia. And Justin.”

“Why didn’t you call me?”

“Because I didn’t want you to wander off before we got here.”


“One of the many reasons that I love him,” said Ben, hauling in two more bags of groceries. Justin came back from the bedroom, in jeans and a t-shirt. One of Brian’s t-shirts.

“Traitor,” said Brian. “I should have known you’d sell me out for your stomach.”

“What can I say?” said Justin, grinning. “I’m a growing boy.”

“Yes, you certainly are,” replied Brian, giving Justin his patented eye-fuck.

“Christ,” Hunter muttered from over by the T.V.

“Aw, did we interrupt before your second morning fuck?” asked Michael, unloading more groceries and sounding completely unapologetic.

“Third,” said Justin. Brian smiled.

“Well, technically, Sunshine, it could be counted as the fourth --”

“Hello!” Hunter cut Brian off. “Minor in the room!” He made gagging noises.

“Besides,” said Michael, “You two have to eat sometime, and I haven’t seen either of you in nearly a week and a half.”

“And you just couldn’t live another day without basking in our presence,” said Brian. “Aw, that’s sweet, Mikey. But you’re fucked in the head if you think I’m going to eat your eggplant parmesan. You forget -- I’ve seen exactly how much fat goes into it.”

“No, that’s for me, Justin, and Hunter. You and Ben are sharing his ‘Tofu Surprise’.” Mikey smiled an evil smile.

“What’s the surprise?” asked Brian, looking warily at Ben.

“The total lack of saturated fat.”

“Okay, then,” said Brian, somewhat mollified.

“Now get out of the kitchen so we can cook.” Michael started getting seldom-used pots out of cupboards and off the racks for various mysterious purposes.

Brian retreated and wandered over to the couch. He sprawled next to Hunter who gave him an openly adoring look and Brian could see the bad pick-up lines forming in his mind. Luckily he was saved by Justin, who slid down next to him, bumping shoulders with him in greeting. Brian lifted his arm over Justin’s head and let it rest on the back of the couch.

Then he reached over and snatched the remote from Hunter.

“Hey!” protested Hunter. Brian raised his eyebrows and interrupted Jerry Springer mid-sentence. There had to be something better on.

My television. My remote.”

“He always hogs the remote,” Justin told Hunter. Then to Brian, “Can we please watch 21 Jump Street? They’re doing reruns all weekend and young Johnny Depp is totally hot.” Young Johnny Depp was hot -- Johnny Depp was hot, period. But something else caught Brian’s eye.

“Sorry, Sunshine. Dean trumps Depp any day.” He tickled Justin’s neck.

“According to you,” he replied, slapping Brian’s had away. But he didn’t make any more protests as they settled down to watch James Dean play the hot town outcast, accompanied by the noises of industrious cooking going on behind them.

Lunch was served and Ben’s Tofu Surprise was surprisingly edible. Apparently, Mikey’s eggplant parmesan was, too, because between the other three, it was decimated.

Hunter attempted footsie under the table, nearly causing Brian to choke on his second helping of tofu, until he gave him a particularly vicious toe-pinch that he had perfected on Claire when they were little. Hunter yelped, gave Brian a look that was supposed to be seductive, and then forgot all about it in the face of crème brulee ice cream.

Brian wasn’t going to have any, but he ended up letting Justin shove a spoon in his mouth, amidst retching noises from Hunter and an annoyingly smug Mikey. Of course, what they didn’t know was that Justin would pay for that later, since Brian had to work it off somehow, and that Justin, although his face was the picture of innocence, was very well aware of this fact.

After lunch, Ben suggested a game of rummy -- a fucking card game that old ladies who’d out-lived their husbands played -- and Brian was about to slap the suggestion down until he looked at Mikey’s contented face. He glanced at Justin, who shrugged almost imperceptibly, with a very faint smile in the corner of his mouth. So they played cards. And it wasn’t the nightmare of boredom that he supposed.

When Mikey and company had finally gone, late in the afternoon, he fucked Justin, fucked him again in the shower, and then they set the alarm and climbed into bed.

Brian couldn’t sleep. Something from the day had settled in his chest and it was itching, bordering the line between discomfort and pain. He would have liked to call it heartburn but he knew it wasn’t. He disentangled himself from a soundly sleeping Justin and rolled out of bed. He dug his cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and started to wander slowly through his loft.

It had been a soft afternoon. The kind that memory blends into a vague feeling of happiness, with only snatches of visuals: Justin’s solid presence next to him on the couch and at the table; Mikey’s contented face and his utter lack of drama for once; Ben’s serenity in the face of Mikey lighting one of the burners on fire (while everyone else cackled from the couch and offered no help). Even Hunter’s lame come-ons and snarky commentary on the movie hadn’t annoyed him.

One part of him felt lazy and peaceful. He had liked today, and no one was more surprised by this than he was. But the other part of him was very, very uncomfortable. It was all so lesbianic. His best friend’s family, over to eat lunch with--well, with his family. He might as well own up to what Justin was.

He was going soft in his old age. He was headed toward the one thing he’d sworn to avoid at all costs: the slow decline into coasting through life, into taking the easy and the pleasant over the exciting and so-full-of-pleasure-it-hurt. He might as well have let the cancer take him, because it was just going to be a slow rot from here. Next thing he knew, he’d be staying home at night and reading the newspaper and not even wanting to do more, to be anything else, to taste life every night in bright lights and dark rooms, and burning liquor, and drugs that could take you to the top, if only temporarily. He didn’t want to stop climbing yet, to stop striving for better and faster and stronger.

His cigarette was down to the filter. He stubbed it out on the metal of the windowsill and turned to throw the butt away. He was just in time to see Justin lope sleepily down the steps of the bedroom, as naked as Brian. Justin hadn’t used to do that, he realized. Brian had taught him to like being naked.

“Hey,” said Justin. He came straight to Brian and wrapped his arms around Brian’s waist. He stood slightly on tiptoe to kiss away the wrinkle between Brian’s eyes. Brian let him and, after a moment of hesitation, hooked an arm around his neck to draw him close.

“Stop brooding, Brian.”

Brian turned his face away, denying it, but Justin wasn’t having any of that. He cupped Brian’s jaw.

“I know what you’re thinking about. Stop freaking out.” He looked into Brian’s eyes solemnly, convincingly, his voice low and sincere with sleep. “Domestic doesn’t mean domesticated, Brian.”

They stared at each other for a moment, until Brian finally nodded. He felt inexplicably better. They were just words, but Justin had a way with them when he wanted to, when he meant them. He made Brian believe him. Justin kissed him again, on his breastbone, on his neck, and started tugging him toward their bed.

Nothing could be bad about this, Brian decided. This wasn’t the sort of rotting facade that his parents had had. This wasn’t the slow surrender and death of all impulsive, interesting life that other people fell into. This was something different, electric and so satisfying that sometimes, when he allowed himself to address it directly, he wondered how he’d done without it for so long. Of course, it had been easy when he hadn’t known it existed.

Justin was high and low and safe. He was dark rooms, bright lights, loud music, and so fucking good Brian thought they’d burst into a million pieces. Justin was upwardly-mobile, the opposite of stagnation, practically crackling with life, so how could Brian rot with Justin around?

He felt all the warring thoughts in his head shift and slowly settle into something almost recognizable, and the burning in his chest subsided. It made sense that it had taken Justin to get it through to him now, finally -- because it was only with Justin that it was true: Domestic didn’t mean domesticated.

Brian relaxed into sleep with a solid, warm Justin tucked against his side, and he allowed himself to acknowledge how good it was.