Timeline: sometime between 309-310
Rating: soft R
Beta: the lovely shadownyc, who manages to makes sense out of my convoluted sentences. Unfortunately I get stubborn sometimes, so all remaining mistakes are mine alone.
Warning: spoilers up to 309
Disclaimer: Queer as Folk and all the characters and situations featured therein are the property of Showtime, Cowlip Productions and their affiliates. I’m only borrowing them for purely non-profit, recreational purposes, and promise to replenish the condom and lube supply when I’m done.
Summary: Brian won't stop touching him.
Author’s Notes: Written for ennorwen, as part of a barter. Half of a pair o' fics.
Have A Nice Day
It’s like this: the CEO and President of Vanguard is Gardner Vance. No questions about that, everybody on the staff knows their place on the big corporate hierarchy.
And yet – quite like how medieval peasants once knew without question that their King was the hand of God, the ultimate authority in the land, etc., and appropriately had a somewhat distant fear of him, but who they really lived in daily terror of were the figures of authority further down the hierarchy, who did more mundane things like collect taxes or the crown’s share of the crop – the mortal employees of Vanguard may kiss-ass and caper for Mr. Vance, but Mr. Kinney is the one for whom the ads are done in record time and presentations perfected to superhuman standards.
This probably also has a lot to do with the fact that Mr. Vance, when displeased with the art department’s work, would simply send a sharp and pointed memo down asking the responsible individuals to make an appearance in his office, while a dissatisfied Mr. Kinney had no compunctions about showing up in the art department to ‘express his concerns’. Often quite loudly.
Even if Justin didn’t already have an instinct for picking up Brian’s presence, the sudden shift in the air in the art department would have been signal enough. Holden, who has been showing him how conceptual drawings are prepped for presentation, mutters, “Shit, not again. Second time today, and it’s not even lunchtime yet.” The guy gives him a suffering expression and a grin that is probably intended to be charming. Moves closer, apparently to spread the filled sheets further apart for better viewing. Justin hears his teeth grinding inside his fake smile. Holden takes any excuse to invade Justin’s space, to talk to him, to accidentally brush against him. Justin, in his efforts to keep as much space between them, is presently standing in the workspace of the girl who’s usually stationed next to him but has gone off to copy a pile of stuff.
A change in the flow of busy artists moving around the room indicate that Brian is starting his rounds across the room. “Barb, where are those new ads for Stockwell?” Brian demands in his mildly-irritated-but-ready-to-be-angry voice, momentarily distracting Justin. The voice is disgruntled and rough and fuck he looks hot in that new suit. Justin’s cheeks warm, and he feels glad that he’s taken to wearing his loosest pants to work these days. “Those boards better be on my desk by noon, Williams!”
Eventually Brian reaches them. Eyes dark, he raises an eyebrow at the guy standing uncomfortably close to Justin. “Holden, aren’t you supposed to be helping Murph with the revisions for the Mighty Mints ads?”
“Yes, Mr. Kinney,” Holden flushes, backing away. Somehow Brian ends up standing directly between Holden and Justin. “I was just showing Taylor here how to prep drawings-”
“Think you’ve gotten the hang of it, Taylor?” Brian turns to Justin.
Justin nods, feeling sorry for the guy despite his annoying advances. “Yeah, thanks Holden.”
Holden wastes no time to scamper off. Brian’s full attention, not to mention a heavy gaze and an unreadable expression, falls on Justin, and Justin knows that Brian’s probably as hard as Justin is, because that’s what just being near each other does to them. Except he really doesn’t need to think about Brian having a boner in those designer pants, doesn’t need to imagine that if he moves towards him just alittle bit he’d be able to feel it…
It really, really doesn’t help that Brian’s staring at his lips. Heat fills the air between them, and Justin has to force himself to step backwards, because Brian’s cologne is stimulating his body’s sensory memory and he feels a familiar twinge in his posterior regions from that morning’s wake-up call. He makes it look as if he’s standing aside to let Brian look at the stuff he’s been working on. A couple of blinks suffice for the head-shaking and bucket of cold water the two of them obviously need. Brian carefully peruses the sheets of conceptual drawings and color corrections on Justin’s work space.
“Not bad,” is the final judgment, and to his surprise Justin finds himself breathing out in relief. Brian has always been honest in his responses to Justin’s work, but when it comes to work for Vanguard he’s especially brutal. Several times Justin has overheard whispers of “Kinney’s too hard on the kid” in that sympathetic-but-glad-I’m-not-him kind of tone.
Well, Justin likes Brian hard, thank you very much.
“Do two more variations of this,” Brian continues, tapping on the collection of concepts for a brand of nutrition bars. “Play with the font and colors a bit, mix it up. Overwhelm me with choices.”
One, two, three…
Brian briefly presses his fingers on Justin’s back before nodding and walking towards his next victim. Justin immediately returns to work, the bustle of a busy and productive and boss-containing art department returning to his awareness.
His eyes do wander a couple of times to the open, near-empty pressed powder case lying on Lisa’s workspace, and the long dark figure of Brian in its little mirror.
Brian won’t stop touching him.
Any time the two of them happen to be in the same room- which is surprisingly often, Justin notes, and that is clearly not the norm, from the way everybody at the art department is muttering about somebody fucking up royally, because the boss never used to spend so much time with them- Justin would feel a gentle pressure on his arm. Or his shoulder. Or his neck.
It’s getting kind of embarrassing.
When they’re not at work, though, Justin’s hair gets the most attention. Brian seems continuously fascinated by how long it’s gotten. He likes to ruffle it, push it back from Justin’s face, slide his fingers through it. Justin’s caught Brian staring at it when Brian thinks he’s not looking. And Brian’s moans get a little rougher when he can clutch at Justin’s hair while fucking him, or while Justin is sucking him off.
Justin wonders if he’s seeing the symptoms of a burgeoning fetish.
Brian calls him after the working day is over – that is, after a normal human being’s working day is over – and asks if he feels like going to Woody’s. It feels silly to be talking to Brian on the phone when his office is just a matter of floors away, and that’s probably why his expression on the glass of the wall displays is grinning goofily back at him
“Sure,” he answers. “Do you want me to go to your place, or should we just meet up there?”
A thoughtful pause. “Loft. I’ll finish up here in an hour.”
When Justin gets in the elevator, Cynthia is there, though she’s heading for another floor instead of leaving for home, like him. Justin had stayed back a little after most of the art department had headed out, so the main evening rush hour has passed. The only other occupant of the cart is a middle-aged exec who gets off on the art department floor, so it’s just the two of them for a couple of floors. They smile at each other, in greeting.
“You know, Justin, I never actually thanked you,” she says, out of the blue.
He frowns. “What for?”
“For making Brian a little more manageable.” A fond expression alights on her face, and Justin realizes that though she may draw her paycheck from Vance, Cynthia is definitely totally Brian’s woman. “And for getting him out of the office at a reasonable hour again. When you were gone, sometimes I think he slept in there.”
Her tone is light and joking and framed by a teasing smile, but her words are sobering nonetheless. Justin nods. “I’m sure you would have looked after him.”
“Not in the way you can.” They arrive at her floor. “See you around, Justin,” she says, looking over her shoulder as she steps out.
Justin nods. “See you.”
The first few days after the reinstatement of the Relationship-That-Never-Was floated by in a sort of sense-heightening, Technicolor ether. Easy and awkward at the same time, neither of them quite knowing where to pick things up again. Especially since Brian busily pretended at the same time that there had been nothing to pick up on the first place.
As for the sex… well, if Justin had thought it was mind-blowing before, months of separation had apparently catapulted things to a level usually only associated with large explosives.
Yeah, sex had never been a problem for them.
A normal couple, having survived ‘till the Grand Reunification after aforementioned long months of separation, would probably spend every waking moment together, catching up on things missed, relishing each other’s company, rediscovering themselves, all that shit.
Since this is Brian, Justin is really only sure of one thing. Namely, that Brian will make a point of reminding him that, despite everything, they’re still not a couple. He braces himself for it. Imagines walking into a huge orgy in the loft, being abandoned at Woody’s for hot new tricks, getting canceled on only to encounter Brian fucking somebody in the backroom of Babylon.
He’d meant it when he said that he knew what to expect.
When Brian finally gets home, Justin is naked and sprawled over the bed. He chuckles at how fast Brian walks to the bed, clothes falling away somehow without slowing him down. Then Brian is on top of him, his hot mouth on Justin’s skin, a low growl escaping his throat when an adventurous finger discovers that Justin had lubed and loosened himself already.
The guys nod with utterly unsurprised expressions when they turn up late.
Ben does ask, concern in his voice, if Justin has hurt his leg or something, because of his somewhat irregular gait. Brian sighs like a troubled soldier and laments that Justin isn’t as flexible as he used to be.
So Justin was expecting the We’re-Not-A-Couple-There-Are-No-Locks-On-O
In the end, Justin is kicked out- not even kicked, actually, more like gently pushed out- of the loft after an intense, prolonged blowjob, in favor of a prescheduled trick.
And that’s it.
Justin plays pool with the guys for an hour or so, then relinquishes his place to Ted. He offers to get everyone drinks, and waits patiently for them to tell him what they want even though he already knows what each will ask for. Gets carded at the bar, naturally, but there’s significantly less suspicious frowning going on and the bartender only glances at his brand new fake ID.
While he’s waiting for Emmett’s cosmo, a sandy-haired guy shaped like a body-builder slides into the stool next to him.
“You’re new,” he says, flashing perfect white teeth that stand out against his tanned skin.
“Haven’t been around for a while,” Justin replies, smiling back. Leans over the bar to reach the bottle opener, well aware of the guy’s eyes on his ass. “Ex-boyfriend wasn’t into the scene.”
“Ah.” The guy nods, obviously pleased. “I know the type. But what do they know, right?” He holds out his hand. “Adam.”
Justin shakes it. “Justin.” He opens his beer bottle and takes a sip.
Adam leans towards him. “So, what are you into, Justin?”
Justin is considering his reply when familiar fingers tread through his hair, and a body presses against his back.
Adam looks up, surprised. “Brian Kinney,” he says, straightening. “I don’t know if you saw my card, but if you’re ever bored a weekend or something-”
“Already had you,” Brian drawls, slinging his arm over Justin’s shoulders. “And he’s booked for the night. So fuck off.”
The guy splutters, but Justin stops paying attention to him around the time he feels the Brian’s dick hardening through his jeans, on Justin’s lower back, and Brian’s tongue licking a hot wet line down the back of one ear. Gasping softly, Justin turns around and kisses Brian, eagerly opening his mouth to Brian’s stroking tongue.
“I’m sorry,” Brian pulls back half an inch, just enough to free their lips and whisper in mock consternation, “Did you want to fuck him?”
Justin answers with a “Who?” before bringing their lips together again. Brian’s hand makes its way back into Justin’s hair, cradling the back of his head and pressing their mouths tighter together. Eventually Brian breaks it off, only to grab Justin’s wrist and drag him towards the restroom. Not that Justin puts up much of a resistance.
When they reemerge, Justin finds himself sitting near the pool table with Brian next to him, feeling like Brian’s hand is close to taking root in his scalp. To his surprise, Brian declines Michael’s invitation to return to the game, instead continuing whatever conversation they had been having while industriously fondling Justin’s hair.
For some reason, nobody else comes near Justin for the rest of the evening.
Though he’s not entirely indifferent to it, might never be, he understands now about not take the tricking personally. It could be that it feels so fucking good to be with Brian again, to touch him and kiss him and be fucked by him at any and often all hours of the day, that he’s willing to put up with Brian’s shit. It could be, but he knows that it’s not just that.
He knows how much Brian loves him. Letting him go, letting him come back. Acting unaffected; but Justin can see, as clear as anything, how much his leaving had hurt Brian. A normal person would have fought, would have tried to win back the person he loved. But that fucking idiot of a man let him go, simply because he thought that it was what Justin needed.
He was probably right.
Such thoughts swirl in Justin’s mind while he’s staring at Brian’s ceiling later that night, sated and skirting sleepiness, Brian already asleep, lying half on top of him. He feels more in control now than he ever has, of anything. His life, his art, Brian. His Brian. Because, he had left. He had left Brian Kinney. And though he has no intention of doing that again, knowing that he had, that he could, has chased away the feeling of being trapped he’d had before Ethan entered the picture.
It’s kind of terrifying, really.
He has to inhale sharply at the fear that fills him, not the urgent fear of immediate danger but the slow and noxious kind, the shade that builds slowly but spreads to every cell like a poison. The fear of doing wrong, failing, proving unworthy of the fucked-up but nonetheless powerful love that Brian has for him. Fear from knowing that, when it comes to love, Justin has his work cut out for him, because Brian is very clearly clueless about the entire thing.
So, Justin had been expecting things to go back to the way they were. But Brian, predictably unpredictable, seems to have changed things a little. Only a little, mind, but sometimes it doesn’t matter how small the bouncing pebble is that starts the rockslide, just that it makes that crucial, inexorable push. This is something Justin hasn’t felt in a long time: the sense that they’re moving forward.
Brian’s eyes open. “What is it?” he asks, voice sleepy and rough.
“Do I look older to you?”
This apparently requires some thought. “You don’t look seventeen anymore,” Brian answers finally. “Why?”
Justin slips one arm around Brian, slides his palm down Brian’s spine. “Ed, the bartender? He didn’t make a big deal about selling me drinks, not like he used to.”
Brian’s eyelids have slipped down again. He slowly rolls off Justin, lying on his back. Somehow Justin is not surprised to feel fingers in his hair. He half-rolls to his side, resting his head on Brian’s shoulder.
Brian will probably bitch about having a numb arm in the morning.
Justin hopes he does, so that he can point out that Brian could have, for example, let go of his hair. He burrows closer, kissing Brian’s skin. Well, being young is overrated, anyway.