Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Cowlip, not I.
Cait: Write sick Justin, thx.
Tink: I already did.
Cait: That was different. Make him have bronchitis.
Tink: Ok.

Thanks and props to my Caitie and Sandrita.

For Annaface.

Justin figures that acting nonchalant when Brian mentions “going away” and “Vermont” in the same sentence is probably for the best. Any outward display of emotion would almost ensure the cancellation of any plans Brian might have.

So they talk about it without getting into details, although Justin does a little snooping and finds the plane tickets. A little more snooping uncovers suite reservations, and just when Justin is wondering when the hell Brian is going to tell him about it because, Jesus Christ he can’t just take off for a vacation without telling Deb he needs his shifts covered, Brian drops the lift tickets on the table.

“If I have to hear one more time about how fucking lonely you were in Vermont without me, I’ll kill myself.” Brian ponders for a minute and then says, “And that would deprive a lot of guys. So we’re going. Together. Okay?”

Justin hides a smile and says, “Okay.”

When Justin wakes up with a sore throat on the morning that they’re supposed to leave, he thinks it’s best if he doesn’t say anything.

* * *

He manages to muster enthusiasm for some night boarding when they get there, conveniently forgetting his raw throat and pounding head, and sneaks four Advil in the bathroom later. It gets him through dinner, although he avoids the wine and hopes Brian doesn’t notice, and then gives Brian a passable blowjob. He takes longer than usual to come when they fuck and lies there limply when they’re finished.

“That good, huh?” Brian murmurs into his hair, still draped bonelessly over Justin’s back.

“Yeah,” Justin lies, and hopes Brian attributes the hoarseness in his voice to the aftermath of passion.

“I want to start early tomorrow,” Brian yawns, and slides off Justin to lie beside him. “Before every amateur airdog on the mountain is cutting me off.”

“Sure,” Justin says weakly, and thinks that surely the tightness in his chest will be gone with a good night’s rest.

Brian chuckles. “Go to sleep, you sound exhausted. I suppose I was in rare form.”

Justin wants to brat something snotty at him, but his eyes are too heavy.

* * *

Brian is gone when he wakes up.

Justin stumbles to the window and throws open the curtains, wincing and blinking at the mid-morning sun glittering off the snow. He wishes he could appreciate the view of the mountain, dotted with skiers and snowboarders, but the light is making his head hurt.

He draws the curtains and heads back to bed.

Brian returns two hours later, ebullient and red-cheeked. His face is cold when he leans over the bed and nuzzles into Justin’s neck. “You’re missing prime snow.”

Justin shrugs away from him and burrows further into the covers. “Jesus, your nose is freezing.”

“Turn over,” Brian says sharply, and Justin opens one eye.



Justin eases to one side, trying to suppress a cough but only succeeding in choking on it. Brian narrows his eyes at him.

“Are you … you’re not … sick?” The distaste in Brian’s voice is palpable.

“No!” Justin insists, and sits up. “I was just gonna get up. Are you going back out?” He swallows over the soreness in his throat and smiles brightly.

Brian looks doubtful but relieved. “Yeah. Was gonna eat something first.”

They call for room service. Justin eats most of his french fries but pushes his sandwich around. When he sees Brian eyeing it, Justin takes it apart and eats some of the ham until he doesn’t feel Brian’s stare anymore.

He forgets his sore throat on the mountain, although the crisp air makes his chest tighten even more. But the feeling of boarding down on fresh snow works like the best medicine possible, and Justin takes every mogul he can find while Brian laughs and jumps them too. Justin thinks maybe this is sort of how the surfers out in California and Hawaii feel.

They fall together once, when Justin cuts sharply in front of Brian and Brian can’t turn in time, and Justin gets a face full of snow for his efforts. Brian also shoves some down the back of his neck for good measure, so Justin spends the next hour with a damp, cold sweater inside his ski jacket.

When Justin can’t feel his feet any more and his fingernails start to turn blue even though his gloves are fleece-lined, he says, “I gotta go in.”

Brian looks longingly at the run they just finished. “One more?” he says, and looks so boyishly charming that Justin almost agrees just to make him happy, but his headache has returned with a vengeance.

“Go for it,” he waves vaguely at the run. “I need a hot shower.”

“Don’t get out till I get there,” Brian replies, and heads once more for the lift.

Justin watches him go. He starts coughing in earnest on his way back inside.

* * *

The shower is quite possibly the most blissful thing he’s ever felt, orgasms aside.

He lets the water rain down, absorbing the heat of it and feeling it burn his toes the most, because they’re the coldest. He thinks maybe he could fall asleep right here. Justin wonders what Brian would say if he found him curled up on the floor of the tub.

He does sit down on the edge for a second because his leg muscles are trembling, and leans his head against the tile. It is cool against his cheek, and he closes his eyes.

Brian finds him that way fifteen minutes later. “What are you doing?”

His voice is loud in the small bathroom. It echoes off the tiles and Justin looks up at him through the spray. “Getting warm.” He wonders why it hasn’t worked yet.

Brian strips, leaving a pile of ski clothes on the bathroom floor and climbing into the shower next to him. He takes Justin’s upper arm and drags him to his feet, burying his face in Justin’s wet neck and sucking the water droplets there. Justin can’t find the energy to even loll his head back for Brian’s tongue, so he drops his forehead to Brian’s chest instead.

He guesses he’s been leaning against Brian for longer than he thought, because Brian suddenly puts a hand under his chin and lifts his face up. “Hey. What the hell, Justin? Are you even alive?”

“Yes.” Justin gives his head a shake, and reaches half-heartedly for Brian’s dick.

“No thanks,” Brian says, and moves out of reach. “Look at me.”

Justin brushes his hand away. “I’m good. It’s fine.”

“Oh, for chrissakes. I asked you this morning if you were sick.” Brian sounds as disgusted as is humanly possible, but Justin thinks he detects worry there as well.

“Just a sore throat,” he says dismissively, and then coughs hard enough to bring tears to his eyes.

“Jesus. Are you contagious?” Brian looks horrified at the thought.

“Probably,” Justin glares, and coughs on him. Brian jumps a foot away and grabs the paper-wrapped soap.

“Now I have to be disinfected,” he grouses, and Justin suddenly doesn’t want to deal with his own illness and Brian’s insanity all at once.

He gets out of the shower and doesn’t bother to dry off. Leaving dripping puddles across the floor, Justin climbs shivering into bed and breathes in the scent of dryer-scorched hotel pillowcases. He wonders if the downstairs gift shop has any NyQuil. Then he figures it doesn’t matter, since he’s not moving from this bed for at least 12 hours.

Justin half-listens to Brian finish his shower and then the buzz of the electric razor Justin got him for his birthday last year. Justin assumes that means Brian’s going to check out the clubs, since he wouldn’t shave for any other reason, but he can’t be bothered to care.

It sort of worries him that he feels too sick to give a shit if Brian goes out or not.

But then, a very short time later, Brian is crawling into bed with him and curling his warm body around Justin’s cold one. He smells of hair conditioner and soap and Justin wants to cry. “Thought you were going out,” he croaks, and wishes for water.

“Nah,” Brian says, and Justin feels him shrug. “Nightlife here leaves much to be desired.”

“But you shaved,” Justin continues, sure that Brian will be annoyed at the interruption of his scheduled blowjob.

“Stubble gives you razorburn,” Brian whispers, and rubs his smooth cheek against Justin’s bare shoulder.

Justin thinks maybe he imagined what Brian just said, and falls asleep smelling Brian’s aftershave.

* * *

He’s not any better the next morning.

He wants to be, he even tries getting up when he hears the room service waiter, but one look at Brian’s alarmed face makes Justin think maybe he shouldn’t be walking around.

His spinning head is his next clue, and when he starts coughing again, Brian takes him by the arm and firmly steers him back to bed. “Stay here,” Brian instructs, while the room service guy hovers just outside the bedroom door, waiting for his tip.

“Okay,” Justin says agreeably, and thinks that going back to bed is the best idea Brian’s ever had in the history of his entire life.

Cough medicine magically appears and Justin tries to ask where it came from because he’s pretty sure Brian hasn’t gone anywhere. But Brian just glares and tosses a spoon onto the bed, so Justin swallows the sickly-sweet orange stuff without protest.

The medicine makes him feel better enough to sit up in bed and watch Brian poke at his laptop. “You should go out,” Justin rasps, feeling guilt prick at him.

Brian grunts something unintelligible and types faster, so Justin lies back down and listens to the clicking of the keys. Abruptly, Brian stands up and comes to loom over the bed.

“You hungry?”

Justin makes a face. “Blech.”

“I’m going out.” Brian pulls on his jacket and grabs his boots and board before Justin can say “Good.”

He says it to the empty room anyway.

* * *

But an hour later, Brian is back, his snowboard suspiciously dry. Justin listens with half an ear as he ambles around the suite, picking up magazines and dropping them again. The television flicks on and then off, and finally Brian stops next to the bed. “You okay?”

“Great,” Justin coughs, his chest constricting painfully. “Fantastic. Wanna have sex?”

The corner of Brian’s mouth quirks. “I’m not that hard up.”

“Maybe I am.” It couldn’t be further from the truth, and Justin is afraid for a second that Brian might take him up on it and Justin thinks that having sex right now could kill him, but then Brian is chuckling amusedly and stretching out on the bed.

“I’ll take a raincheck, Sunshine. You can owe me five blowjobs. That’s about right.”

Justin wants to make a witty retort, but he figures the cough medicine is making him fuzzy because he can’t think of anything to say. So he sighs and tucks his head into the warm spot under Brian’s arm.

Brian lets him.

* * *

Justin’s vague feelings of guilt grow into something he can’t ignore when his coughing forces them both to spend a sleepless night.

He tries to retreat to the couch around two in the morning, but Brian gets up and shouts at him to get back in bed. Justin complies, if only to keep Brian from waking up the entire floor, and Brian throws a heavy arm over him. “Don’t get up again, dumbass,” Brian mutters, and pretends to sleep.

At four, when Justin tries to hide his coughing but only succeeds in making the bed shake, Brian starts muttering again and disappears into the bathroom. He reappears with the vile orange cough syrup and holds it out to Justin without a word.

Justin ignores the spoon and takes a swig right from the bottle.

“Nice,” Brian sighs.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Justin snarks. “Did you want some?”

Brian snatches the bottle from him and slams it down on the nightstand. “What I want, honey, is to maybe fucking sleep tonight. If I have to drown you in that medicine, so be it.”

“Well,” Justin says, and yawns so widely he thinks his face might split.

“Thank God,” Brian grouses, and climbs back into bed.

They sleep till noon, when Brian wakes Justin up and packs him into the rental car.

* * *

Justin spends two more days in Brian’s bed before Brian goes crazy from the constant coughing and drags him to the doctor. Justin figures Brian lasted a day longer than he expected him to, so Justin goes without protest.

Three days and six pills later, Justin asks Debbie if he can come back to work. He can tell she’s about to say no, but he tries the thing on her that he usually uses on Brian where he looks up through his bangs and blinks a lot. She pinches his cheek and says, “Don’t be fuckin’ coughing all over the food, all right?”

He doesn’t. His cough all but disappears by the end of the week, and Justin takes as many shifts as possible. He takes overtime when it’s offered, working both late and early hours, crawling into bed on most nights long after Brian’s fallen asleep and waking up to catch the breakfast shift.

The guilt lingers.

Justin spent the better part of six months pondering their missed vacation, thinking to himself that if Brian would just give in and go away with him, life would change and birds would sing and flowers would bloom.

Then he stopped being a fucking silly faggot and forgot about going away, which was exactly the time Brian decided he wanted to. Justin wonders if that wasn’t on purpose.

So it just all fucking figures that Justin would get sick, because he can’t remember a time when he and Brian ever had anything that wasn’t marred in some way. And usually, now that Justin looks back on it, the marring had something to do with him or directly relating to him.

Justin loathes martyrs.

* * *

He mopes around loathing himself for another day or two before Brian hunts him down. This only serves to send Justin further into the doldrums, because of course he must have subconsciously hoped for Brian to come searching for him. At least, that’s what he used to do. Patterns don’t break that easily.

Brian waits until half past midnight, when it’s too early for the drunks to pour in off the street and too late to catch the before-Babylon crowd. He sits in the corner booth and fixes Justin with a steely gaze until the night manager nudges Justin and says, “You’re off. Your boyfriend just ended your shift fifteen minutes early for you.”

Justin thinks he’d rather work another three hours or so than get into it with Brian, because it’s late and he’s tired and the tuna sandwich he gobbled at eight isn’t going very far. But he shoves his apron into the dirty linens basket next to the trash can and drags his feet reluctantly to Brian’s booth.

“Well, hello,” Brian says sweetly as Justin plops down across from him. “Wanna come to my place? The twink who shares my space is never there.”

“You want me to see your etchings?” Justin tries to joke, but he mistakes Brian’s sarcasm for humor. It’s easy to do, since Brian has about eleven different shades of sarcastic and Justin never knows which one is which.

“No,” Brian says, and speaks in the low voice he uses when he wants Justin to come while they’re fucking. “I want you home.”

“I’ve been home,” Justin says lamely, and draws designs on the paper placemat with his fork.

“Mmhmm. You leave your greasy work jeans on the bathroom floor, that’s how I know you’ve been home. Oh, and the Vaseline got moved from the nightstand to the bathroom counter. Jerk off much?”

Justin feels himself blushing although he knows Brian jerks just as much as he does. The only reason Brian doesn’t do it more often is because his dick is usually occupied. Justin chances a look at him.

Brian smiles and slides out of the booth. Leaning over, he whispers in Justin’s ear, “Whatever martyred idea you’ve got in your head, Justin, get the fuck rid of it. I don’t fuck saints.”

* * *

Justin goes home to a dark loft that smells faintly of the expensive cologne Brian put on earlier. Too exhausted to sleep, he pads around for a while before ending up in the bedroom. He strips his shirt but not his navy track pants, and sleeps fitfully in the empty bed. Ad mockups and paperwork surround him, scattered carelessly on the floor.

He is awakened an hour later by the smell of sex and Brian. Slow and warm, Brian crawls on top of him, sliding easily over the nylon of Justin’s pants and draping himself across Justin’s bare back. Justin turns his face to the side and receives a mouthful of tongue as Brian leans his head down for a kiss, and Justin can tell immediately that Babylon was less than fruitful.

“Home early,” he says, and his voice is scratchy with sleep.

Brian makes a noise of disgust. “Nothing even remotely close to good.”

“You’re spoiled,” Justin murmurs, arching his neck as Brian tastes his shoulderblade. “I guess that’s my fault.”

“What can I say? You learned from the best.”

Justin chuckles and Brian presses his hips downward. Justin feels him, hard and ready. He waits for Brian to strip them both, but Brian seems content to rock against him instead, nestling his face in the hollow between Justin’s neck and shoulder.

Justin can tell that the cotton on the inside of his pants is causing soft friction against his own dick, and he wonders idly if he could come that way. It hasn’t happened since he was seventeen, so he figures probably not.

But Brian seems more determined for it to happen than Justin does, because he pauses to remove his shirt but not his jeans. He slides back into the same position, fitting himself into the crack of Justin’s ass and sighing to himself as he rolls his hips. It presses Justin into the bed, and the blanket that he fell asleep on top of is bunched between his legs. Justin realizes that every time Brian pushes down on him, the blanket hits him in just the right spot. Justin thinks this could be a disaster, since he’s not really making any sort of move to dislodge it, but he can probably hold on long enough to enjoy it before he reaches a point of not turning back. And then Brian starts whispering to him.

“I could get you off,” he says silkily, moving with deliberate rhythm.

Justin’s cock jumps involuntarily. “Like this? I doubt it.” Although he thinks maybe that’s a lie, since Brian can get him off just by murmuring his name.

“Really? Want to see?”

Justin is about to laugh him off when he feels Brian slide a hand underneath his bare chest to play with his nipple ring. The touch of the cool metal against his skin as Brian fingers it is an instant dart of arousal to his cock, and now he knows “I doubt it” is definitely a lie.

So fucking embarrassing.

But he can’t help groaning softly when Brian purrs in his ear and grips the sheets on either side of Justin’s head for leverage, using his whole body to rub against Justin and push him against the sheets and blankets.

The only face-saving Justin can hope for is that Brian comes first.

So he puts his head down again and lets the man on top of him lull them both into an easy rhythm, feeling how hard Brian is against his ass and reveling in the pressure beneath him against his dick. Brian is moving with more urgency now, breathing heavily and grinding against Justin’s back, not concerned in the least that he’s about to come in his jeans like an adolescent.

Justin sort of likes the spontaneity of it, but would never confess.

He lets Brian rock him against the bed and he presses his own hips down into the blanket, amused at both of them playing like teenagers but too hard and horny to do anything except groan and go with it.

It sort of goes a long way in shattering the martyr complex, Justin’ll give Brian that.

And then thirty seconds later Justin realizes that Brian coming first isn’t going to happen, because he can feel his orgasm building as Brian rocks him hard into the bed. He gasps out loud just as Brian bites the lobe of his ear, and then Justin is coming all over the inside of his pants. Brian follows suit a minute later, grunting and clutching the bedclothes.

The sticky mess doesn’t seem to bother either of them, because Justin notes that they don’t move for a long time. He knows Brian isn’t asleep because his breathing remains light in Justin’s ear. His weight is heavy and comfortable.

Predictably, Brian is hard again within minutes. Justin is absurdly pleased, although he realizes it doesn’t have much to do with him personally. Brian’s dick is in contact with ass, which equals erection, but since Justin’s orgasm didn’t do anything to take the edge off, it’s fine with him.

Brian peels off their damp clothing and rolls on a condom without ever moving from his position, but by now Justin is too anxious to care how he did it. He rolls on to one hip and takes his own dick in hand as Brian slides in, both of their necks arching from the sensation, and Justin strokes himself hard and fast.

He knows Brian is watching him jerk his own cock because he feels Brian clutching his hip, flexing his fingers to the rhythm Justin sets, speeding up when Justin does and then slowing down with him too. It’s a small power but Justin uses it, taking little victories where he can. He thrusts into his own hand, feeling Brian long and tight inside, and does the one thing he knows Brian can’t hold out on. Justin clenches his ass tightly, squeezes it as hard as he can on Brian’s downstroke, and groans Brian’s name.

Brian chokes out, “You bastard,” and then comes, shuddering and groaning against Justin’s shoulder. Justin lets himself come then, jerking into his hand and spilling all over the dark sheets.

Brian pulls out after lying atop Justin for long, sated minutes. Justin watches him slowly clean up, Brian’s body lean and muscular in the darkness. He disappears into the bathroom and Justin hears the water run while Brian brushes his teeth, and then he’s out again and bending down to Justin with a minty mouth. Justin kisses him back, Brian’s tongue cool from the toothpaste.

“So,” Brian yawns as he crawls over Justin into bed, “are we done with the hiding?”

“Hiding,” Justin says slowly, not turning around to face him. “What hiding?”

Brian snorts. “God. Three fuckin’ years and you still don’t learn. Christ, Justin, what’d you think I was gonna do? Have a fuckin’ fit because you got sick?”

Justin turns his head just enough to see Brian over his shoulder. “It’s been known to happen,” he shrugs, hoping he sounds as unconcerned as he wants to.

Brian takes his hands from behind his head and lets them drop to the covers in frustration. “Oh, fuck me. I can’t win. I’m an asshole, you pout. I’m not an asshole, you hide. Can you just fucking tell me what will make you act like a normal human being and I’ll try to do it?”

Justin starts to smile a little bit at the thought of Brian Kinney doing anything anyone tells him to do, and Brian grins too. The tension is broken, momentarily at least, and Justin sighs and lies back on the pillows. “I don’t think anyone acts like a ‘normal’ human being.”

“Yeah, well. Normal is as normal does.”

“Oooh, you’re smart.”

“Fuck you.” Brian punctuates this with a kiss to Justin’s cheek, and Justin feels the tiny dart of the tip of Brian’s tongue against his skin.


* * *

Six weeks later, Justin comes home to find Brian fiddling with the printer for his computer.

“Goddamned ink. We need a new cartridge. Is there a new cartridge? Fuckin’ printer.”

“In the junk drawer,” Justin tells him, hunting through the refrigerator for water.

“Junk drawer. I never had a fucking junk drawer before you started living here. There’s no cartridge in here – oh, here it is. Is this black? It looks blue.” Brian stares at the box for a minute before Justin calmly takes it from him.

“It’s black. Let me put it in for you, since it seems to be confusing.” He rolls his eyes at Brian, who scowls.

“Fine. Just put the damn thing in so I can print something.”

“All right, all right. Christ, what’s the matter with you?” Justin doesn’t really expect an answer as he inserts the print cartridge into the casing. He pushes the blinking light and the printer happily starts up, resuming the job it had started before presumably running out of ink.

Justin waits while the printer spits out paper and Brian slouches on a barstool. It finishes its job and Justin pulls the paper from its tray, not bothering to look at it while he hands it to Brian. Brian studies it for a minute and then says, “Put this somewhere I won’t forget it.”

Justin eyes him strangely and takes the paper. He brings it all the way into the kitchen and puts it on the refrigerator with a magnet before glancing at it.

He supposes that the confirmation number for a hotel in Vail is meant for him to see, but Justin won’t risk it by asking.