Not Your Leaving But Your Not Coming Back



megababe717 said: i would love a ficlet where Brian says ILY in a believable way (yes, I think there is such a thing!).

Um. It was hard. This was the best I could do. Hope it's okay. sogay suggested I have Brian say ILY to his treadmill. Thanks, love. It would have been believable.

A lso? 2,665 words. yeah.

Summary: post 414 tragic little Justin goes to Hollywood tale.


When you got home from work on Justin’s last night, he was sitting on the floor with his cases around him. You stood in the doorway, oddly surprised by the sight of him.

‘I need you to help me,’ he said. ‘I can’t get this stuff in.’ He nodded to a pile of shit in front of him, sketchbooks and clothes and photos.

‘Okay,’ you said, and you helped him cram it into the last suitcase. Then you went to Babylon together, danced and fucked and Emmett cried and told Justin not to forget any of you. You pulled Justin away and home before anyone else started crying or getting sentimental or you both drank too much and passed out before you’d fucked.


Drunk, high, and you nearly fucked him in the elevator, or he nearly fucked you, you weren’t sure. He had you slammed in the corner, kissing your mouth, your hair, your throat, saying this might be the last time for --

‘Don’t.’ You stopped him, pulled his head back with your fingers in his hair, and said ‘Don’t start. Don’t even start. Okay?’

‘What?’ he blinked at you, and you tried not to look at his red lips, his open mouth.

‘Just don’t start with any goodbye shit or you can fucking sleep at Daphne’s, okay?’

He didn’t answer, just started kissing you again, so you half dragged him out of the elevator to the loft to get more alcohol, more drugs or something, because you knew from the look in Justin’s eyes that was the only way to get through this night. You had a bag of pot somewhere, new, strong, from this guy you’d met last week. It took you a while to find it, digging through boxes and cases and stacks of things Justin had decided he didn’t need and was leaving at the loft. Then you rolled a joint on the kitchen counter, got whiskey, got beer, sat next to Justin on one of his suitcases and kissed him when he opened his mouth and breathed in, because you knew, you just knew he was about to say how this was the last time in six months that you’d be doing whatever the fuck he thought you were doing.

Getting stoned, getting drunk and fucking. That’s what you were doing tonight. Nothing else. Nothing special. When you stopped kissing Justin, you lit up, inhaled and breathed out smoke.


After two joints and two beers, you stood up, a cigarette dangling in the corner of your mouth.’ Let’s go to bed and fuck your brains out.’

Justin looked up at you with bright, drunk eyes. ‘Don’t you want to talk?’

‘About fucking your brains out?’

‘I just thought, as I’m leaving for --,’ he cleared his throat, ‘Hollywood, in the morning, to make a major motion picture…’

You raised an eyebrow at him and he smirked.

‘I just thought at this is our last chance --,’

‘Back in six months, Sunshine, it’s not our last chance for anything.’

‘ -- as this is our last chance to, you know, talk for a while, that we should. Talk. Before you let me fuck you.’

You decided to let the last comment slide, and considered the talking thing. Then you considered your dick. ‘I don’t think so.’

‘Alright. So, let’s – let’s play a game.’

You stared at him for a long time. ‘Like scrabble?’

He grinned. ‘Like scrabble.’

‘The version of scrabble where there’s no plastic letters and I get to fuck your brains out?’

‘Yeah. No. Wait.’ He hesitated. ‘No, I know. Truth or Dare. We could play Truth or Dare.’ He grinned at you, pleased with himself.

‘I dare you to take all your clothes off and lie on the bed with your ass in the air.’

Just wasn’t listening. ‘Yeah, and then the winner -- I don’t know how you win at Truth or Dare --,’

‘You win it by being a thirteen year old girl.’

‘No, you--,’

‘Trust me, Justin, any grown man playing Truth or Dare is a loser right from the start.’


You’d been playing for Truth or Dare for nearly an hour, you still hadn’t had the ceremonial last (last for a while, not last forever) fuck, and you were lying on your back watching the ceiling spin.

‘Alright.’ You pulled yourself into sitting position, swallowed a mouthful of beer and leaned back on your hands. You were starting to wonder if you were going to need coffee. ‘Tell me a secret.’

‘Isn’t it your turn?’

‘I don’t fucking know. Just tell me a secret.’

He looked at you for a long time. ‘You’re supposed to ask me a question.’

‘Okay, I’ll ask you a question then.’


‘Did you ever think about me when you were fucking the fiddler?’

You didn’t know where the question had come from, and you hadn’t known you were going to ask it. Unsettled, surprised, your breath caught in your throat: you wanted to hear the answer. Justin looked away and you tried to remember which way it was you looked when you were lying, and which way when you were remembering.

‘Sometimes. Sometimes I’d jerk off on my own thinking about you when he was asleep.’

You exhaled slowly, and shut your eyes, picturing it. ‘Did you wake him up?’

‘No. He could sleep through anything. He was always tired at night.’

‘It’s tough being a starving artist.’

‘Yeah,’ said Justin, his voice too quiet. You tried to remember why you were playing this stupid game.

‘Did he love you?’ you asked, and you couldn’t control the way your voice went dry and cynical, even though that wasn’t how you meant the question. You wanted to know.

‘Not as much as he thought he did.’

Your old hatred of Ethan cut through you, precise and metallic and uncomplicated, like it was.

When Justin was with Ethan, and the images were flickering in your head then, a home movie of Ethan and Justin holding hands and kissing and fucking and you wished you hadn’t brought it up -- what were you doing in those weeks? You weren’t just watching him all over the city, although that’s sort of how it plays back in your mind. It was just dead time, fucking and drinking, but it was flat and easy and cheap. Things were sharper with Justin there. More difficult. Brighter. You tried to picture another six months of that in your head, and something flared up inside your chest, hot and sudden, and you had to press a bottle of beer to your lips to stop yourself from asking him to stay.

‘I don’t want to play this game anymore,’ Justin said, and you agreed.


Another joint, another drink, Justin had killed all the light in the loft apart from the blue one above the bed which tomorrow, tomorrow you were really going to get rid of. And there was a buzz in your head that you couldn’t clear and a lot of broken thoughts and you couldn’t decide if you should make coffee or drink more. Justin was kissing your neck and talking about movie stars, and you were thinking about him jerking off and Ethan not waking up, and then in a sudden cold water moment you were thinking about Justin having nightmares, waking up in California on his own. He didn’t have them anymore, you thought, and at the same time you wanted to know that he would call you. You wanted to tell him he could call you, anytime, 4am, and you would talk him down, talk Chris Hobbes out of the room, you would do it for him whenever. But he didn’t have them anymore.

‘What time is it?’ said Justin suddenly. ‘How long before I leave?’

‘It’s 4am,’ you said. ‘You leave in six hours,’ and a quiet, vague sadness settled around you, around both of you. You didn’t know how to break it.

‘I’m coming back,’ he said, and he’d said it so many times by then it was starting to sound desperate, and you wondered who he was trying to convince.

‘I know you fucking are,’ you said, but you didn’t ask him to promise, because you didn’t want him to have to break it. He didn’t need to be tied to anything, because the one thing you knew for definite was that Justin was smart and hot and impossibly fucking young and was moving to California the way you never did when you were 20, 21, 22, ever. You tried to imagine who you were when you were his age. How alike you were. Maybe more than people would think because you know Justin started with a whole bunch of shit you didn’t get, like money, like parents who mostly loved him, but you both got the innocence bashed out of you one way or another.

‘Come on.’ Justin pulled out of his space on your shoulder and stood up, and held out a hand towards you. ‘It’s late, let’s…’

‘Yeah.’ You grabbed his hand with the wrong arm and pain twinged in your shoulder as you pulled yourself up.

In the bedroom you tugged off your shirt and sprawled on the bed in your jeans, whiskey bottle slammed down on the bedside table and you grinned lazily at Justin as he stripped down to his shorts and crawled on top of you, his full weight stretched over you, and you felt a charge at that warm skin on skin feeling. He kissed along your collarbone.

He did that, he spent time on scars and old wounds and places where he knew you hurt, like he could heal things and fix them and knit broken skin and bones back together. He always kissed the scar on your abdomen as well, pausing there on his way down.

Seemed like these days you spent more time before the actual fucking, just fooling around, kissing, touching. More time after, as well. Talking. Sleeping.

Right bang in the middle week of radiation, your lowest point, you stayed in bed for three days, under the covers and not moving. Half way through the first day Justin came home and crawled in beside you. He didn’t ask how you were feeling, because through the whole thing Justin had apparently been the only to whom it was perfectly obvious that you felt like shit, you always knew the boy was a genius, and he wrapped himself around you like a heater because you were cold for some fucking reason the doctors didn’t explain, and that, that then was the longest time you’d ever spent in bed together without fucking. The longest time you’d ever spent together. And when you weren’t in bed you were shivering on the bathroom floor, stomach clenching and unclenching in shuddering waves, and Justin was always around somewhere, talking and moving above you, running warm fingers in patterns over your shoulders.

That was the shit that had changed you. Going through it, coming through it, that’s the shit that had done it. Justin probably thought it made you closer, made you better, but a tiny sharp part of your brain kept telling you that the biggest change was who needed who the most. A power shift.

It was like the stuff you used to try and explain to Michael behind the bike sheds. ‘That’s what relationships are, Mikey, they’re about fucking each other over. There’s always a winner and there’s always a loser, and the one who cares the least always wins.’

Michael, eyes wide, a blinking owl.

‘That’s how you win. You just don’t need the other person as much as they need you. You got it?’

Michael had nodded, but he didn’t get it, and he never had. You were the only one who did, and it’s a lesson you still hadn’t managed to unlearn. But you’d tried. You were trying.

Justin was smart and hot and impossibly fucking young and was moving to California the way you never did, and you tilted his head towards you and looked at him seriously.

‘You’re going to be a big fucking star,’ you said, and he grinned brilliantly.

‘How come you’re so happy for me?’ he said.

You kissed him and didn’t answer.

‘I think it’s because you love me.’

‘I do,’ you said, before you could stop yourself, and there was no fanfare, no violins and no roses, but something hurt, something snapped inside you, a huge fucking weight slammed into you, and you suddenly thought you were going to be sick.

He sat up over you, looking down, and you could have sworn he was glowing and light was shining out from beneath his skin, making him luminous, iridescent. You tried to concentrate on the slashes of blue light over his face. His pupils looked massive, black. He looked like liquid and you wanted to drink him. You were really fucking high and you were really – you weren’t breathing right, thinking he’d be gone in the morning, he’d be gone soon and you’d better fuck him now.

‘Brian.’ His hand was reaching out towards you and distantly, you felt him touch your neck, work his fingers up through your hair. ‘Brian, breathe,’ he was saying, his face right up near yours and looking right into you. ‘Come on, it’s okay, breathe.’

You forced yourself to speak, and you said, ‘I need a cigarette.’


You’re sitting in the short-stay car park at the airport, waiting for him to leave. He doesn’t want you to come to the gate with him. He thinks you’re both too hungover and emotionally frayed to handle the goodbye scene. You think he’s right.

‘I’m coming back,’ he says, for the ten millionth time.

‘Yeah,’ you say. ‘Do that,’ and then you take a breath like you’re going to say something else, but you don’t know what it is. He looks at you expectantly, and you know he’s still waiting for some sort of retraction or confirmation of what you think you said last night, although the moment is a distorted blue mess in your head.

You have to say something that lets him know you meant it.

‘It’s just, like.’ You swallow, hard. ‘I’m not that okay without you.’

You hear him breathing, and then an aeroplane low overhead, taking off, splits the silence open.

‘You want me to go, right? You told me --,’

‘I want you to go, Justin.’

You make yourself look at him and he looks like he’s going to cry, so you kiss him. You kiss him for a really long time, and when you pull back you put a hand on his shoulder and push, gently.

‘Go on,’ you say, your voice sounding flat and hollow. ‘Come on. Go.’

He stares at you with a look like he’s almost saying something, but not quite. Then he leaves. The car door slams shut and an ache starts, somewhere low inside you.

You don’t watch him walk through the glass automatic doors and you don’t see them hiss shut behind him. You start the engine and squint forward into the sun and the air shimmering over the road.

There’s things to think about, like. What you’ll do later, this time tomorrow, for the next six months, now. What you’ll do now. You’ll be hitting rush hour traffic first, trying to get home. You’ll be in the kitchen, you’ll be having a beer. Maybe you’ll call Michael. You’ll have some space, some time, and you’ll concentrate on Kinnetik. You’ll be snowed under, and you’ve got three new clients lined up, they all need attention.

You’ll be taking a shower on your own after work, one hand pressed flat against the glass and the other wrapped around your cock, and you’ll be thinking about him. The whole time, you’ll be thinking about him.